It's even worse than it appears..
Thursday October 13, 2022; 9:35 AM EDT
  • I once asked a journalist who uses Substack how he felt about their editor. His response surprised me. He said he loved Substack and basically wouldn't say anything critical about it. I said I was asking as a software developer. I was wondering if there was any reason to try to put together a nice editor for Substack users, I wasn't asking a "gotcha" question the way a journalist might. I had no intention of quoting the person. My writing isn't like that. I don't quote people very often, and usually if I do, it's without saying who they are, as in this bit. #
  • It was kind of a hypothetical question anyway, because I can't write an editor for Substack users, they don't permit it. Writers have to use their editor. It's the only reason I don't use Substack myself. I have my own editor that suits my writing style, and don't plan on switching, ever. And I recognize that it's also a lock-in tactic. They make it hard to publish through Substack something you published elsewhere. #
  •, written by Manton Reece, who I've written about here recently makes it incredibly easy to publish stuff published elsewhere as part of your blog. I recently decided to learn how it works, again, after playing with it a bit when it first came out. It's an interesting product that I sense started out very simple, but over time got so many features that now it's hard to approach as a newbie. But after a number of sessions being somewhat confused, I think I now understand what the product is at its core. #
  • First it's a simple blogging tool. Posts can have titles. You edit in a plain text editor. The system supports Markdown styling and links. It supports outbound RSS, and where it gets interesting is that it supports inbound RSS too. So I can give it the URL of my linkblog feed and everything I post there appears as if I wrote it on In fact I did that a long time ago the first time I tried it out, and it must appear to some people as if I've been a regular user all along. People reply to my linkblog posts. I feel bad about that. It seems selfish of me to do that, to push ideas into a system, but to not be there to respond on behalf of those ideas. But I haven't taken the link out, at least not yet. :-)#
  • The interesting thing about it, and the reason I put the two products together in one piece is that has the one feature that imho would put Substack over the top, and give it a shot at world domination. On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice if added a newsletter feature to put a little pressure on Substack to open themselves up a bit more? 💥#
  • PS: I haven't described all the features of For example, in addition to each user having a blog, each user also has a timeline, like Twitter. You subscribe to other users. Not sure if you can subscribe to external RSS feeds (which would make it a feed reader too). Where the boundaries are is where the confusion is, at least for me. #
  • PPS: I think my presence there makes people uncomfortable, perhaps. While the product is a paragon of openness, the community seems kind of closed, basically part of what I think of as GruberVille. All things that emanate from John Gruber's blog. I am not part of that world, but I have an account. I am harmless, I have no desire to interfere with -- I think it's wonderful that someone is doing what Manton is doing. As I've tried to say a number of times, my product is interop. I am 67 years old and am aware that every time I start a new product it could be my last. I am not trying to conquer anything, however I am trying to shake at least one part of the web out of the deep sleep it has been in ever since Google Reader took over and then was axed. #

Last update: Thursday October 13, 2022; 6:11 PM EDT.

You know those obnoxious sites that pop up dialogs when they think you're about to leave, asking you to subscribe to their email newsletter? Well that won't do for Scripting News readers who are a discerning lot, very loyal, but that wouldn't last long if I did rude stuff like that. So here I am at the bottom of the page quietly encouraging you to sign up for the nightly email. It's got everything from the previous day on Scripting, plus the contents of the linkblog and who knows what else we'll get in there. People really love it. I wish I had done it sooner. And every email has an unsub link so if you want to get out, you can, easily -- no questions asked, and no follow-ups. Go ahead and do it, you won't be sorry! :-)